the Starving Artist

Do you know a “Starving Artist”?

You know the type — oh, and they don’t have to be ‘real’ artists either. They don’t want to sully their life with ‘business’. Their ‘art’, or whatever it is they produce, if they actually produce anything, is much to elegant to be understood by the “masses”. They want people to buy what they have to offer but they don’t actually want to have to deal with real customers or mundane things like marketing.

I met a few of them last Summer. Or, rather I tried to meet them but the %$#@ studios weren’t open! My wife and I were touring the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia and took a side trip to Cortes Island. We only had two days but it IS a small island. So, first thing we looked at a brochure to see where the art galleries were. Then we made our sojourn. Funny thing. I guess artists don’t open up on Mondays or Tuesdays or… We went to 5 separate galleries and only one was open more than 1 ½ days a week.

I found out why. On the way back (we had to take TWO ferries to get to Cortes) we would be stopping on Quadra and knew there was a small gallery there carrying some nifty aboriginal art. So, learning from our Cortes experience we pulled out our trusty cell phone and called ahead. Well, the gallery hemmed and hawed. Yes, she was ‘officially’ open at 9 a.m. — we would get there then after taking the 7 a.m. Ferry. But, you know she might be out for coffee at a friend’s so ya know, like she wasn’t sure man. Needless to say we skipped the Quadra experience and raced to the ferry to Campbell River.

Guess what!

In Campbell River we found an honest to god gallery that understood customers. It was run by a local group of aboriginals and we spent more than $ 300 on gifts and stuff for ourselves. Guess those ‘artists’ on Cortes and Quadra missed out. Eh!

Why do some professionals so strongly embrace the “Starving Artist” Archetype?

Here’s my cut on it.

I’ve worked with a lot of professionals who are bright, creative, unconventional, eccentric, even down right weird. What I’ve noticed is that some, not all, seem to want to hang on to their ‘weirdness’ as a special “badge”, an indicator that this make them ‘special’, unique. And, that have anything to do with reality is somehow poisonous to their identity. And, somehow they also seem to believe that success should just come to them without having to do any work.

Sound familiar?

But, is there value in this Archetype? And, can you be an Artist and a success in Business?

Tune in over the next few days and see….